Asian Markets Mixed As Investors Digest China Data

Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday following the modest gains overnight on Wall Street and as investors digested a raft of economic data from China.

Data showed that China’s industrial output and retail sales rose in October, but missed expectations. Fixed asset investment also increased at a slower pace and matched expectations.

The Australian market is extending losses from the previous session despite the modest gains on Wall Street, with stocks lower across the board.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 58.20 points or 0.97 percent to 5,963.60, off a low of 5,957.10 earlier and falling below the 6,000 level. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 53.30 points or 0.87 percent to 6,043.90.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is down 1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.4 percent, while Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is down more than 3 percent, Oil Search is losing 3 percent and Santos is lower by more than 2 percent despite oil prices holding steady overnight.

Royal Dutch Shell confirmed that Shell Energy Holdings Australia will sell its entire stake in Woodside Petroleum for total pre-tax proceeds of $2.7 billion, or A$3.5 billion.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.2 percent.

Ruralco Holding’s net profit for the year ended September 30 rose fivefold from last year, when results were weighed down by restructuring charges. Shares of the agribusiness are rising almost 3 percent.

Incitec Pivot reported a full-year net profit that more than doubled from last year and said that its chief executive James Fazzino will step down Tuesday after eight years in the job. The fertiliser and explosives maker’s shares are gaining more than 5 percent.

On the economic front, the latest survey from the National Australia Bank revealed that business confidence in Australia improved slightly in October, with an index score of +8. That was unchanged from the September reading following an upward revision from +7. The index for business conditions saw a more sizeable jump, climbing to +21 from +14 in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. In early trades, the local unit was quoted at US$0.7617, down from US$0.7661 on Monday.


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